Thankful for PCOS

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada – so Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your weekend was full of food, friends and family. 🙂

When I first heard of PCOS, all I could think about was women with beards (cue panic attack!). It terrified me, but thankfully I had virtually no symptoms (except visibly polycystic ovaries diagnosed on an ultrasound). I dreaded the day I would wake up to my first, ruthless chin hair… living in constant fear of the inevitability of the symptoms – and with little knowledge about the syndrome, I had no tools to prevent any of them. (Spoiler alert: the day did come where I got my first chin hair, and the world did not end).

The further we got into trying to have a baby, the more severe my PCOS symptoms became. I went from someone without a single symptom, to someone with almost all of them at one time or another.

Here’s the tricky thing about PCOS – it has this way of completely un-womanizing you: making you infertile, emotional, and hairy to boot. I felt like an incomplete woman, an incomplete wife and a failure as a potential Mother. It, literally, took away everything that made me feel feminine (I was growing facial hair!! (although, it was significantly less than I feared)). On top of it all, I couldn’t even do the ONE THING women’s bodies are built for: childbearing. It was a very dark time for me, I was 100% disconnected from myself as a woman and my marriage.

Then it all began to change when I realized that somehow, in spite of it all, Mr. Big continued to love me as fiercely as always. Actually, he loved me more (enough for both of us) because I was too broken to love myself. The need to wax my chin did not even faze him, the extra meat on my bones didn’t turn him away and the lack of baby only made him sad for my broken heart. Absolutely nothing in his actions validated my harsh feelings towards myself, and slowly – very slowly – I came to see myself more as he saw me, and less as the cruel thoughts in my head.

Yes, I was growing facial hair. Yes, I was plumper than I’d ever been. Yes, I was emotional and irregular and annovulatory. Yes, I was infertile. But none of those things were the reasons Mr. Big married me. He did not marry me for my smooth face, my thin frame, my calm, normal periods (haha), or for my fertility. He married me because of the person I was underneath all of that – the person I was in my soul. The same person that my family and friends loved. The same person that my work appreciated, and my friends came to in times of need. Realizing that was what made me a stronger person. My body is just temporary: it will change with time, age and experience. But my soul – that’s permanent – and something I will carry with me always.

From there I realized how very lucky I am: Mr. Big is wonderful. He is such a good, kind, gentle man and I am so very blessed to have him. Knowing that he stuck by me through such a difficult time, and loved me when I was too hurt to love myself, showed me the kind of man he really is. It made me love him harder and more, which has – in turn – allowed him to love me harder and more. The thing about love is, the more you love yourself – the more open you are to be loved. The more he taught me to love myself, the more I was open to receiving love, and the more rich and full my life became. Realizing this is what has made our marriage stronger. 

Without PCOS, I am not sure either of us would have learned all that we have, and all that we continue to, on this journey. Every day it makes me a stronger woman and a stronger wife, and every day it makes him a stronger man and a stronger husband. It is also what has driven us down this adoption path that has been so very fulfilling, already.

So this weekend, while it is a time for Thanksgiving, I have to say I am particularly thankful for PCOS. At times I truly felt it was ruining my life, but it really was just taking it apart and rebuilding me as a stronger, better person…and for that, I am so very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving – I hope you all find yourselves surrounded by love and peace this holiday!

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Where we are now

In case you missed it: check this out first. 

Where are we now?

Well, we’re feeling relieved, and angry, and sad, and frustrated…in that order. But still, I don’t think there is an ounce of us that thinks we should dive into IVF.

To rewind – for some time (like, I’m talking 7 years or 2555 days or 364 weeks or 84 months or approx. 70 cycles) we have tried our best to conceive without too much medical/surgical intervention. Medical and surgical intervention is a beautiful, miraculous thing and I am so happy it exists – but for us, we have always known we would not do much in the way of medical/surgical interventions (for plenty of reasons: health, prognosis, side effects, anxiety/fear, finances, the fact that I have only one ovary/ fallopian and stakes are high if I have an ectopic or another cyst, etc.). This is the one thing we have consistently stuck by, and believed in, though out these rocky years.

We have tried pretty much every vitamin/ mineral/ miracle substance/ essential oil/ acupuncture/ massage/ work out routine / diet you can think of to help boost our fertility. We have tried BBT, CM charting and fert.ility fri.end. Mr. Big has not been in a hot tub or worn anything tighter than boxers in 5 years. We have tried prayer, meditation, Reiki and even human sacrifice (just kidding on that last one). We have tried “relaxing, and letting it happen” and we have tried “Sex three times/day, every day”. I have peed on every kind of stick there is to pee on and I have had enough of the fun and glamorous fertility testing (I’m looking at you, dildo cam wearing a little condom hat) to last me a life time. I have taken the ovulation inducing meds, the hormone replacements, the meds they give you to combat the side effects of the aforementioned meds, and – of course – the prenatals that are so huge they should be inserted, rather than swallowed.

And then, four weeks ago, we approached the point in our infertility journey where we need to move forward with IVF, or stop.

We spent countless hours and days thinking, wondering and worrying about those two options. Lots of things went through my mind: “if I REALLY wanted a child, I wouldn’t even consider stopping”, “I’m letting down my parents, my in-laws, my sisters, my nephews”, “Mr.Big should leave me and marry someone fertile”, “What kind of a woman am I when I can’t even do the ONE thing women’s bodies were *made* for?” , “If I were stronger, I would be fighting to the death for this”, “Maybe the reason I can’t have kids, is because I shouldn’t”, etc. etc….

Then, we finally decided to listen to our guts: it is time to stop.

The decision was not, and continues to not be, easy. Every day I go back and forth and wonder if I made a mistake, if we just try one more cycle… but I know if I don’t stop myself, everything that we DO have will fall apart. I love children more than anything in the entire world – but we know, inherently, that this is not the path we are meant to be on. We can feel it in our hearts, our minds, and our souls. The damage that is being done to ourselves is immense already (as you all know) and this is not the way we want to become parents.

We have battle scars. We’re both heavier, with more unhealthy habits than we had pre-infertility and our levels of self esteem are so low, they’re in a heap on the bathroom floor most days. Social settings – once fun and relaxing – are now awkward and uncomfortable because everyone in our life is a raging, fertile parent or parent-to-be. The questions and comments at these social events still bring me to my knees. I have one less one ovary and fallopian due to a “twisted cyster”, believed to be brought on by the med. cocktail I was on. I can’t remember the last time we went on a vacation (actually, have we ever??) because we were always afraid to book one in case I got pregnant and we didn’t want to worry about cancelling if I was sick/ high risk/ if the area had dangerous virus (like Zika)…so we just didn’t book anything. Our entire life was on hold, waiting for the day when our HPT would come up positive… for 2555 days our lives have been on hold.

I don’t know what the future has in store for us. I sure hope it involves raising and parenting children – but if it doesn’t, I can accept that too (that makes my throat burn just to type that…so maybe rather than “I can accept that too”, I should say “I will work to accept that too, should that be our path”). I am so blessed in that my sisters allow us to have an active role in our nephews’ lives, allowing us to be a part of so many of the things we would otherwise miss. Our lives are not void of the blessings of parenting, they’re just structured in a slightly different way.

Mr. Big and I are still in recovery mode, trying to piece our selves and our lives back together. I think we want to take a vacation (one that we’ve been putting off in case I got pregnant), and then we will sit down and enroll in some adoption and fostering classes and get thinking about this next phase of our lives.

 

#Microblogmondays – Confessions

I had one of those weekends that digs deep beneath the facade of your life, and rips from it (sometimes painfully) the truth of who you really are. There’s this thing that I’ve been rolling around in my brain for a while now, at first it began as a this little niggling that has grown into something much more. I cart it around like a dirty secret, guarding it from everyone, terrified to share it…but I need to share it. So here it is…my deep, dark confession early on a Monday: I don’t know if I want kids anymore.

Do you know what Mr. Big said when I told him? Yes, I feel that way too.

Here we were, carting around this scary, debilitating secret – privately, but in tandem – and we didn’t even know the other was having the same scary thoughts.

We spent Sunday morning in bed, wrapped in each others arms, having one of those heart to hearts that define your relationship. In the end, we determined 3 very important things:

  1. We still love kids. We LOVE kids. If kids came easy to us, we’d have a hundred at least four by now.
  2. But they don’t come easy to us, and this path – the one we are currently down while we TTC – is not only something we actually don’t want, but it feels very wrong for us. We both dread it in the way you dread a colonscopy.
  3. We would rather be a kick ass Aunt and Uncle, happily married, dedicated volunteers of many causes, dog parents, musicians, and productive members of society than go through what we will need to go through to become parents.

So where does this leave us? I don’t actually know. Mr. Big doesn’t know either. I guess that’s kind of how life works, isn’t it? All of us in this together, not really knowing. I can finally say I actually understand those bloggers who choose to pull the plug on conventional treatments, and just let whatever is going to happen, happen. I am there, now. Totally there. It doesn’t mean I don’t still hope for a miracle, that we will conceive, and everything will be ok. It doesn’t mean the idea of living out our life childless doesn’t fill me with sadness right now. It just means that we won’t, we cannot, commit to this life any more. Those of you who are deeper and further into it than me are amazing – and you deserve every thing you work and pray and hope for – because this shit is hard. Harder than anything I have ever been through – and for us, it is too hard to continue.

I’m not sure how, or what, we will tell our families. I feel the need to tell them something – perhaps just that we’ve decided to stop treatment and let life happen? I don’t know yet. I just know I can’t do this anymore, and neither can he.

For more on #microblogmonday, please see Mel’s blog Stirrup Queens. 

#Microblog Mondays – PCOS is Fickle

Has anyone noticed how fickle some reproductive conditions can be?

I have PCOS. It’s supposed to be what is causing my infertility, yet the only symptoms I have are irregular cycles (range between 28-42 days), occasional annovulation and a visibly polycystic ovary noted on my last laproscopic surgery. Yet I know people with PCOS, with pretty much every symptom in the book, who are conceiving easily and without issue.

What gives? Why does PCOS chose some people and not others? How come it seems like every PCOSer I know, who is not doing half of the things I’m doing to be healthy, is getting pregnant while I remain barren?

I’m trying really hard not to be bitter or jealous, but I’m losing that battle. I’m not even sure if it’s bitterness or jealousy, it’s mostly just incredible, consuming sadness.

Sometimes, life stinks.

What do you do to get away from the bitterness/jealousy/sadness?

For more on MicroblogMondays – click here. 

#ThoughtfulThursday – POAS PTSD

Does any one else have an anxiety filled, PTSD like reaction to the mere idea of POAS?

I do – and it’s become such a big thing that I cannot use one. It literally makes me sick.

We have been TTC for 6.5 years. In those 6.5 years, I have peed on thousands of tests (HPT and OPK). Not one *NOT ONE* has ever been positive…this is closest we’ve ever been to a positive of any kind.

I’m currently a ball of anxiety because I’m at that point in my cycle (CD39) where I should take a test…. but I just can’t bring myself to do it. The devastation (and it is devastation) is too hard for my heart right now and I just don’t think I can handle it. I can’t deal with the downslide that comes from the inevitable negative test … the self loathing, the sadness, the anger, the frustration. And then , when it is negative, I just convince myself that I didn’t take it at the right time, or I ovulated later than I thought and therefore may be too early to a positive HPT…and so I keep taking tests over and over, until I finally get my period and then slide into the abyss for 5-7 days.

It’s a violent, penetrative cycle…and it’s easily my most hated part of infertility. I have an appointment for blood work on July 14th…by then I should know for sure…but I don’t know if I can make it.

What do you do – HPT or wait for blood work? Does anyone else share in this fear?

I know, I don’t know, but I know

A woman I work with, who is a work-friend and a lovely person, is pregnant with her first child – due late June. I was so happy for her – she is the kind of person who sponsors refugee families and spends her well earned funds on supporting a plethora of local and international charities. She is a really good person…so when I found out there would be a little CG, I was super excited for her.

This past week she called to let me know that her baby had been born still, at 37 weeks. There is no reason, no diagnosis yet, and nothing immediately evident that could have caused the still birth. Not that it would make it easier, I just hoped a diagnosis or a reason would enable her to know how to move forward.

My heart is broken for her. I wish there were words, but there just aren’t.

I so badly want to reach out to her and say I know. I know how it feels to ache for a child you will never meet. I know the pain, the heaviness in your heart while your body feels so empty. I know it all, and you don’t have to be alone while you wade through this horrible wasteland of grief.

But I don’t really know. I’ve never had a still birth, or even a miscarriage. I’ve never had a pregnancy…despite trying everything. But I do know grief. For me, it comes from the silence echoing with the memory of my so wanted babies, my 50+ failed cycles and my disappointment that swallows me whole. For her, it’s the little baby she knew, she cradled, she loved and she grew … and one she had no reason to think she wouldn’t bring home.

I know it’s not the same. Losing a child you carried, loved, wanted and prepared for – completely unexpectedly – that’s a pain I cannot imagine. All of the babies I’ve lost existed only in my mind, and my hopeful heart – but I do know what it feels like to miss something with every ounce of your soul, every pore in your body, every breath you take and to be so, utterly, disappointed.

I just wish I knew how to say that to her in a way that wouldn’t be offensive or hurtful. Instead, I just offered her a warm hug and a promise to come running if she needed anything at all.

Is that enough? I don’t even know.

WTF – Possibly the most negative post I’ve ever written, please forgive me for my nastiness but, for real, WTF

I work SUPER hard not to be jealous or bitter about our inability to conceive while being surrounded by super fertile family and friends who are constantly having surprise pregnancies. I do…because I DON’T want to bitter or nasty, but sometimes….sometimes, I just have to let it out. Please be gentle with me, I know this post is not my usual style but I just have to get it off my chest.


There is this girl I have known all my life (MM). Her family has been friends of my parents since forever, and for as long as I can remember, she has been a deplorable human being.

She has zero concern for anyone but herself, and is totally OK with ruining someone else’s life for her own satisfaction, based on completely false claims. She lies…oh she lies. She lies about people abusing her, she lies about pregnancies and miscarriages (to date, has claimed 15 in two years, all within 3 weeks of each other…and includes 14-16 week ultrasound photos, with the names blurred out, claiming she is “3 weeks pregnant today!”), she lies about experiences and services received at local businesses – and then she spreads her lies in hopes of hurting the business. She spews hate and racism like it’s her job. She cheats on her husband shamelessly, without any concern for who knows. She treats her parents – who have given her everything – like garbage. She refuses to work, and instead lives off the government and is constantly complaining that she is not getting as much money or benefits as she deserves because she is 1/265th Aboriginal, and therefore entitled to the same benefits (? Ya, ok? Blond haired, blue eyed white girl). She has received multiple interventions over her life time to try to help her, but she simply does not agree that she has any kind of problem. The worst part is? She posts this stuff all over face.book for everyone to see and doesn’t see anything wrong with that. (For perspective, she joined a group for Support for Teen Mothers on F.B….and then posted hateful, nasty comments wishing them all miscarriages and/or stillbirths. Her excuse was that she has struggled with infertility (her fake pregnancies and fake miscarriages) so she is allowed to be bitter. They deleted and blocked her, but not before she accused them all of being whores and incapable of adequate parenting – asking them all to “throw themselves down a set of stairs before they ruin another kids life”.

This is all 100%, actual truth that I could show you from her Fa.ce.book wall. Horrific, right? Probably the worst person I’ve ever known. The logical person in me says she is obviously hurting, and miserable, but the other part of me says – who isn’t? That doesn’t give you the excuse to be so SO HORRIBLE.

So imagine my surprise (not) when she posted another pregnancy announcement. I expected the customary 3 week miscarriage announcement, followed by the collection of sympathy and gifts…but it didn’t come. Then, there was an ultrasound photo WITH HER NAME ON IT, captioned “infertility survivor” (Please tell me this makes you boil too?)! That was when the lead ball dropped into my stomach.

Then – yesterday – I ran into her Mom and she confirmed (she appeared majorly stressed about it) that MM is, in fact, pregnant. 16 weeks, to be exact.

What. The. Fuck.

How does someone so cruel, so unpleasant, so malicious get blessed with a baby?? How?? How is that fair for that poor child who will, undoubtedly, suffer? There is nothing in the world that will change MM, she has been this unpleasant since she was born – so HOW CAN THIS BE FAIR? To the child, to the world, and to people who are *actually* infertile, and also decent human beings who want nothing more than a little human to love??

Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck.

That’s all I have to say. Now I will return to being a kind, nice, genuine human being because there are NOT enough of us in the world, and I will get back in the line of similar people waiting for OUR miracle babies…(even though, for some reason I will never understand, they are given to people like MM).